Teach For America/Teaching Fellows and Effective Teaching in Secondary Math

Publisher: Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research
Sep 30, 2013
Melissa Clark

TFA teachers were more effective than the teachers with whom they were compared, regardless of the comparison teachers’ route to certification or years of teaching experience. Teaching Fellows were just as effective as, and in certain cases more effective than—the mathematics teachers with whom they were compared in the study schools.

High-poverty schools across the country struggle to attract effective teachers, particularly in science and math. Teach For America (TFA) and the TNTP Teaching Fellows programs attempt to address this problem by providing an alternative route into the profession for promising candidates without formal training in education. Both programs recruit high-achieving college graduates and professionals, provide them with five to seven weeks of full-time training, and place them in high-poverty schools, often to teach hard-to-staff subjects. Unlike most alternative routes into teaching, TFA and the Teaching Fellows programs are highly selective, admitting less than 15 percent of applicants.